Setpiece by setpiece it's dazzling: not just outdoors, but inside; the mother's walk through wartime printing offices is a stunning changing-light-and-rapid-tracking-shot exercise, one of many moments of endless resourcefulness in finding new ways to stun.
[With this film, there's a sense that] one has been given privileged insight not only into Tarkovsky the man but Tarkovsky the artist; for Mirror is not only the most autobiographical of all his works, it is also the film that most succinctly recapitulates the filmmaker’s aesthetic: his belief that cinema is, first and foremost, a medium of time, a medium that allows both artist and viewer to come to terms with the force of time and its role in the constitution of subjectivity.
If Mirror is a dying dream, that final reel before someone shuts off the projector, it can only be an artist’s—winter scenes from Brueghel gain life and movement, and the guilt of knowing that our parents, if it weren’t for us, could have had very different lives, acquires a near-unbearable weight. How does one respond to a sacrifice? One can only live with it—or not.